Records: Lakers 54-20 (2nd in West), Jazz 36-39 (11th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.9 (2nd in NBA), Jazz 108.3 (11th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.6 (6th in NBA), Jazz 110.2 (23rd in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Jazz: Earl Watson, C.J. Miles, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Kyrylo Fesenko
Injuries: Lakers: Devin Ebanks (out); Jazz: Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Andrei Kirilenko, Memhet Okur, Ronnie Price (all out)
UPDATE: Via Mike Trudell’s twitter account, Matt Barnes has been suspended one game for “escalating an on court altercation”. He’ll serve his suspension tonight and thus will not suit up against the Jazz. This certainly affects the Lakers’ rotation as now the team will either slide Kobe up to SF with Shannon playing increased minutes or Luke Walton will see the court for meaningful minutes. Considering this is the 2nd night of a back to back for the Lakers, I would anticipate we see a bit of both these options play out. We may also see a three guard line up with Fisher, Blake, and Brown all sharing the court, but that’s less likely.
As mentioned below, this was something that I expected. By the time Barnes made his way over to the skirmish, the refs had already moved in and seemed to be close to separating everyone. Barnes threw a monkey wrench in that plan by jumping into the fray and shoving Terry. Obviously, the league felt that this was a suspendable act and tonight he and the Lakers pay for it.
Are Suspensions Coming?: With the Lakers playing as well as they have been, this really is the question of the day. Let’s face it, Blake did what most players would do in that situation by confronting Terry – doing so non violently, I might add – and standing up for himself. I doubt Blake sees any sort of punishment beyond a fine and even that may not be levied as players are already fined for technical fouls. But, what Barnes did was different. The referees had already stepped in and were in the process of breaking up the incident and Barnes came in to the fray and shoved Terry. This no doubt escalated the situation by getting more players riled up and ultimately causing an assistant coach to get shoved to the ground. While Barnes’ act is one that’s happened many times over the years, it doesn’t change the fact that he could be viewed as someone that kept this skirmish going, with the league coming down on him for it. Don’t get me wrong, I like Barnes sticking up for his teammate. I like the fact that he’s willing to come in and move people out of the way when they commit a dirty play (and Terry did commit a dirty play). That said, it doesn’t change the fact that he could have come in and played a peace maker but instead jumped into the fray as a combatant. Normally, the league doesn’t take kindly to that. We’ll update this post as we get news.
The Jazz Coming in: The question is often asked if the NBA is a coaches or a players league. People argue back and forth and cite that only a handful of coahces have actually won championships in the past 20 years but then those on the other side of the argument cite the players on those rosters as being the reason behind the wins. Personally, I’ve always said that you need both because only having one side will get you far but likely not all the way to the mountain top. Meanwhile a team that has both great coaching and great players consistently challenge for the title.
I bring all this up because earlier this season the Jazz, while not an elite team, definitely had a great coach and one great player. However, now Jerry Sloan has retired and Deron Williams is a member of Nets and they have none in either category. Needless to say, the fortunes of this team have changed and the Jazz are no longer a good team and will likely miss the playoffs for the first time in 4 seasons and only the 6th time in 30 years.
This isn’t to put down Ty Corbin or Al Jefferson (now the head coach and best player respecitvely) but this team has fallen back and is now just another bad team. Since Sloan retired the Jazz are 5-16 and since Williams was traded they’re 5-13. Overall, they’ve lost 8 of 10 and 6 straight including an overtime loss to the Wizards on Wednesday. Despite good play from Jefferson and Millsap and signs of growth from rookie Derrick Favors (the prize of the Williams trade) this team has been rendered pretty much irrelevant. I’d say more, but it would just be piling on.
Jazz Blogs: Check out Salt City Hoops for great coverage of this team.
Keys to game: As I just mentioned, Utah isn’t a good team. Beyond that, some of their better players will miss this game with various ailments. Simply looking at this game from this perspective, the Lakers should win and there’s little else that needs to be said.
However, the games aren’t played on paper and even if they were the Jazz still have some capable players to deal with. It starts up front where the Jazz look to match the Lakers’ strength by super-sizing their starting line up. According to Brian Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz will start Millsap at SF, Jefferson at PF, and Fesenko at Center. This will cause some interesting match ups as the Lakers will now need to contend with a lot of size up front and guys that do well in clogging the paint on both sides of the ball.
And in a way, this all makes sense. Jefferson is ill-suited to play against Bynum and the Millsap/Gasol match up would be even worse for the Jazz. This shift better prepares the Jazz to deal with the post play of Gasol and Bynum and also should improve their rebounding. All that said, the Lakers can still take advantage of these match ups and should still look to pound the Jazz in the paint early and often. Gasol and Bynum both have skill and size advantages over their men and both are more than capable of scoring in post up situations. Gasol especially should be able to isolate on the weak side and create solid scoring opportunities both when at the elbow and the low block.
Outside the bigs, however, this should also be a game where Kobe can take advantage of his match up. C.J. Miles offers good size, but he’s not often matched up much with Kobe and green defenders who aren’t used to dealing with the variety that Kobe offers often find themselves in poor positions when faced with #24’s entire arsenal. I expect to see a lot of attacking from Kobe both off the bounce and in the post where he can use his full array of pivots, hesitation dribbles, and fakes to get good looks at the hoop and score efficiently.
If there’s one other thing I’ll be watching closely tonight it will be the play of rookie Derrick Favors. This kid is young, athletic, and strong with comparisons to Dwight Howard already bestowed upon him. He finishes above the rim and hits the glass hard and I’ll be interested in seeing how he deals with the versatility and talent he’ll face in LA’s big men. It may end up being trial by fire, but considering his draft position and who the Jazz gave up to get him, I’m interested in seeing what he’s capable of.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on KCAL locally and ESPN nationally. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710am.
Just caught the replay of the Mavs game…
It must be said; That one-handed catch, gather, and lay-up by Artest last night was unbelievably awesome. Strong, skilled, and arrogant.
If the Lakers keep up this level of play and (knock on the superstitious substance of your choice) remain injury free, I cannot imagine any team beating them in a best of seven.
Wow. Just wow.
“Strong, skilled, and arrogant.”
Just the way Artest should be, and that’s why we love him.
On the “fighting” last night:
I was surprised to see so many ejections. I’ve seen much worse things happen in the regular season and only T’s being handed out.
Okay, Barnes earned his ejection. He’ll most likely be given some kind of extra punishment for the way he left the court as well, but I really have no problem with what he did. He saw Blake literally be thrown around in a way that could have led to an injury, that made him angry, and he charged at the guy who roughed up his team mate. It sends a message to the other Lakers as much as to the Mavs and any other team that is watching, and it’s a message I like.
Call us soft now, I dare you. 🙂
Utah should have broke up the team 2 years ago when it was obvious that there was no way that version of the Jazz was gonna beat this version of the Lakers.
Utah has too much talent to be as crappy as they are. They have three bigs that can get you 20 and 10, CJ Miles can score (he scored 40 less than a month ago), and Devin Harris is a top 10 PG. So what is the issue? Who knows, who cares, why bother!!!
I hope we stomp a mudhole in them tonight.
I don’t think anyone will be suspended. If you look at the last major incident in the NBA (Heat-Wizards), the only player suspended was John Wall for throwing an elbow (punch) toward Big Z. I suspect Barnes will get a stiff fine similar to what Juwan Howard had to pay in that incident, but the league would look like its a applying a double standard if it suspends Barners for shoving while only fining Howard for the same.
Unfortunately, the league has a history of double standards… Matt Barnes has a reputation as an angry fighter, similar to Ron Artest, and he may be punished more severely simply because events in his past makes his intent seem more violent and insidious than Howard’s shove.
I hope you’re right and I’m wrong, but I’m not optimistic. 🙁
Talk about double standards: Z elbowed Artest – in the face, twice, in one play – during the XMas game and Ron showed great restraint in not ripping his head off.
As far as I know, there was no penalty whatsoever for what seemd like a very obvious flagrant foul. If I could see it from my den, how come the three blind mice missed it?
I want this game tonight as evidence that we have no let down games in us. We have the superior concentration and drive that we want to win all games, no matter the situation.
This can be a trap game because, of all the injuries the Jazz have, their record (especially in the last 19 games), the natural let down from last night’s brawl-a-thon, and there being no natural reason to be up for this game other than winning a game against an inferior opponent.
This game with be further proof that we are ready for anything the playoffs can bring.
After last night’s game, I understand how Boston felt about us after 2008 finale. I have absolutely no respect for Dallas. They laid down last night like scared little girls. But do they have what we had to bounce back and prove themselves?
Needless to say I expect the Lakers to win this game, especially since the Jazz will be fielding a starting 5 that’s not use to playing major minutes together (if any) & a couple of players in positions other than their best.
What I’d like to see tonight is for the Lakers not to take the Jazz lightly. Crush them early & often so no Laker will have to play more than 31 minutes on this 2nd night of their current back to back.
Here’s hoping I see Smith, Ratliff, & Walton for at least 5 minutes each tonight for all the right reasons.
lil' pau says
it’s now 5 hours ’til tip and 5:39p in NYC; when will the league rule on the suspension question? gotta be in the next hour, right? i mean, presumably barnes is already in SLC, which is a cruel thing to do to someone if they’re not going to play. then again, perhaps vlade’s snowboarding coach is still around…
the only news i heard is that terry’s flagrant foul II was downgraded to a flagrant foul I.
the post says there are no repercussions from the game, but it’s not clear if that pertains to the mavs only.
With Bynum they waited until almost after the last minute before announcing it… it would be nice if there was some kind of statute on these things: “Must announce before noon on game day” or something like that. It makes it easier for both teams to prepare if they know who will be on the floor.
This may be just me, but if/when Barnes is suspended, it should be for approaching Terry and pushing him (although Juwan Howard did a similar thing and only received a fine), but not for breaking free of the hold that the Mavs’ assistant coach had on him and for that coaches inability to maintain his balance. I say this because
1) at that point, Barnes was walking away from the incident along the sideline and was a minimal threat (Terry was still fuming) and did not need to be held back
2) Barnes (and anyone in his position) would feel absolutely threatened to be held from behind like by anyone from the opposing team (coach or not). I don’t blame him for trying to break free.
Busboyz@8 – Naw I don’t think the Mavs have the ability to do anything but whimper. It’s part of their DNA.
From Chibi’s link @ 11 – “Still no word on whether Matt Barnes will receive any punishment for potentially escalating the incident.”
12. When Bynum was suspended I wrote that the league (unless it’s a back to back) should be required to supply at least 24 hours notice for a suspension.
Having a decision by noon is also a great idea when the next game is the following night. You and I and everyone here all know that the league can doesn’t need several hours to figure this out – they can look over all the tapes and make a decision between the hours of 9am EST and noon.
They lack standards in so many ways when it comes to making decisions like this.
damn. barnes suspended for 1 game.
Never mind, just saw Darius’s update.
Darius Soriano says
The post has been updated with news of Barnes’ suspension.
I’m just glad it’s only one game. He didn’t do anything too terrible, but he did act up for an extended period of time.
What irritated me was the choice of words several media outlets used to describe the game. One writer over at Yahoo even called it a brawl, which is just irresponsible.
It’s a pity that the “all NBA players are thugs” mantra apparently still sells.
Chris J says
Not that the Lakers need any excuses for motivation, but I hope those two little (insert your favorite epithet here, in plural form) are sitting courtside again tonight in their “Fisher Lied” T-shirts.
That’s just one more reason I’ll never feel sorry for that team or its fans, even if they soon sink to Clippers-level (pre-Griffin) irrelevance.
Barnes suspended for one game:
Edit: I’m slow! 😉
Does anyone know what the best post All-Star record is?
97 Jazz and 00 Lakers. 30-4.
I think I’m pretty unbiased. But the fact Barnes was suspended and Terry wasn’t is a gross miscarriage of justice.
“After Thursday’s game Terry said that Barnes had been saying “a bunch of nothing” ever since he played for the Golden State Warriors from 2006 to 2008 and on Friday told ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd, “We call him the ‘Charminator’ because he’s soft as Charmin toilet paper.””
i guess terry thinks he’s hard because he shoves people in the back.
The Dude Abides says
Not only that, Aaron, but the NBA downgraded Terry’s Flagrant Two to a Flagrant One. What a joke, but in the larger scheme of things, this team is united even more than it has the past two seasons. I’m going to keep playing up the 2001 meme because the parallels are so startling.
@3- I couldn’t agree with you more. With Boozer and Okur healthy, that Jazz squad was the most talented squad they’ve had since Malone/Stockton, and they still couldn’t hold a candle to the Lakers.
The whole squad, including Sloan, should have been on the trading block to build around D-Will. The Kirilenko contract limited their options, but when they re-signed Milsap to back up Boozer (who ended up walking as a free agent) that made no sense to me. There’s no reason they couldn’t have used the Milsap money or traded Boozer to fill that weak SG spot.
Terry not getting suspended is total BS – specially after the junk he’s been saying in interviews and such. There is something fundamentally wrong here.
It’s okay… let Terry have his day. The playoffs are almost here and if we meet them again in the post-season they don’t stand a chance. Let him have his little moment of importance, and let us move on to bigger and better things.
The Dude Abides says
Brought over from the previous thread:
@9. OKC owns the tiebreaker vs DAL by virtue of winning their division. The Lakers will own the tiebreaker vs the Spurs (if they finish with the same record and are 2-2 in head-to-head) by virtue of a better conference record. Looking at the schedule, I think the Lakers will either run the table or lose one game, and IMO the biggest trap game is the final day of the season vs SAC, as it’s the very next day after the upcoming beatdown of San Antonio.
Dude, Couldn’t agree more. This team is already on a 2001 type of run. Except this team has five good players instead of just two.
The Dude Abides says
Aaron, that 2001 team had the best inside player and the best outside player in the league, plus a collection of amazingly good role players. The 2000 team got punked a lot by all those elite PFs in the West (AC Green couldn’t guard anyone), but the Lakers signed Horace Grant for the 2001 season and the punking stopped. Fish went on a three-month run where you knew every jumper that he shot was going in. Horry was Horry and did all those Horry things, and Foxy played elite SF defense, moved the ball on offense, and hit the open shot. We still had the Shawfather and Harper, too.
If you go by PER (on offense), this incarnation of the Lakers has two elite players (Kobe and Pau), one great player (Drew), and one very good player (Lamar). When you factor defense into the equation, I would submit that the team has two elite defenders (Drew and Ron-Ron), one great defender (Kobe), two very good defenders (Lamar and Barnes), and one good defender (Pau). And Fish, for all his defensive faults, does some things very well (breaks up fast breaks, locks up bigger players after switches, doubles down on post players, and fights through screens when chasing SGs).
what happened to Terry? why was he not suspended? Barnes may have escalated the situation but it was Terry’s dirty play that started it all. No suspension for the starter of the fray but those who were baited into the fray gets punished. And what about the Assistant Coach that held a player while he was on his way back to their bench?
On a lighter note… that push made by Barnes was nothing to compared to how J. Crawford pushed Barnes all the way to the Mavs bench..Can the league also give penalties for referees who use excessive force in restraining players?
If the Spurs lose again tonight (and they trail by 7 now), it’s officially getting weird. I know they have had injuries, but how do you go from being on a 70-win pace to losing 6 in a row? Their starters come back, and they keep losing.
The #1 seed is a serious likelihood. The Spurs don’t look good, and we have one more head to head with them. If that happens, how bad will everyone who was pushing for the Lakers to make a change start to look?
Basically, the NBA’s message:
It’s ok for a soft team to instigate, but not ok for tough team to escalate.
I say if you’re brave enough to instigate, then it’s up to you to deal with the consequences. Of course, the tissue-soft jet disagrees.
Looks like Boston is going to lose..Tight game on Spurs-Rockets game.
Kobe playing zero defense early
San Antonio v. Houston going to overtime.
The Dude Abides says
Lakers have no energy right now. Tough second night of a back-to-back because they lose one hour going into the Mountain Time Zone and they have to adjust to the high altitude. They probably arrived at their hotel around 2:30 or 3AM. If they can hang in there until they catch their second wind, they should pull this one out.
Shannon made a comment that he was not sure what would happen next year when he again becomes a free agent. He wants more money and feels like he may make out better by testing the market. The problem is he has a very low Basketball IQ. The Lakers get the ball with 28.9 seconds to go in the quarter. Shannon gets the ball and dribbles up the gut and shoots a floater with 19 seconds left!!!! WTF!!! Hold the ball and run some clock. You don’t want Utah to have enough time for a shot, but Shannon being Shannon doesn’t realize that!!! Good luck next year, you won’t be a Laker.
The Dude Abides says
LOL…Houston up three with 26 seconds left, and the arena is too loud for the Spurs to hear Pop yelling from the sideline to take a foul. Houston runs it down to 7.5 seconds and the Spurs foul Martin, who hits two FTs to push the lead to five.
Edit – Rockets win…now our guys need to bear down tonight
The Spurs don’t need to panic … yet.
Way too many outside shots and Bynum going one on one in the post.
man, spurs lose again.
lakers control their destiny now.
Well this is thoroughly embarrassing. The Lakers are getting beat in every way right now.
The Dude Abides says
@48. Surprisingly enough, Fesenko has always given Drew problems. Tonight he’s 0-3 so far, with Fes blocking two of his shots.
PJ may as well pull the starters.
Too bad Carachter (sic) is in the D league.
This would be a great chance for him to get some burn.
Let’s take it easy on the lakers tonite boys.
Brutal back to back. They have expended a lot of energy on this 16-1 surge. Look at the celtics
tonite, they lost to Atlanta.
Ofcourse a win tonite would have pretty much wrapped up HCA over Dallas, Boston and the heat, but we shall see.
The Dude Abides says
Drew needs a B-12 shot.
Need to get the lead under 10 at half. Need to then win the game in the 2nd half. For those saying the matchups work better in the 2nd slot: (1) fear none, and (2) extra games at home mean extra dollars for Buss and the team. Could potentially be 2 extra home games, i.e., WC finals and Finals. Could mean between 3-6 million extra dollars. Would help Jerry fund the team.
The Dude Abides says
Let’s see if Drew can improve upon his 0-4 FT shooting. There’s one, and now two 😀
Question for the FB&G guys: Is it a possibility that the Spurs, for whatever reason, are tanking? If yes, why? Or are they just not clicking right now, what with Duncan’s return and all?
terrible energy so far for the lakers. however unlikely it would be an impressive victory if the lakers were able to pull it out
A little late to the party, and wow, the Lakers are having trouble it seems like tonight.
Maxnyc@53 – agreed. Last nights beat down of the Mavs was probably pretty draining, phsically and otherwise. They’re taking tonight off one way or the other.
something tells me that foul by favors is going to wake the lakers up.
Wow Gasol is getting embarrassed defensively and on the glass.
just as i predicted.
The Dude Abides says
@57. No, because OKC could overtake DAL and make it into the #3 spot, anyway. And, the Blazers have gone on a run to take the lead on OKC up north. This is a must-win for OKC if they want to pass the Mavs.
Our guys need to continue their run in the 2nd half. Right now we’re getting the benefit of the whistles, so we need to take advantage.
Lakers did wake up! Down 6 at half is miraculous–even against this depleted
Jazz team. The spurs collapse has been
puzzling and it’s caused the lakers to have
to play until game #82 apparently. I hope
If we do get HCA throughout it’s not some
Sort of pyrric victory.
On the other hand lakers still had to keep their distance from mavs, bulls, celts and heat so I think we overrate how much this was about the spurs–but now it is.
This is why Kobe is Kobe. His energy brought the team back and at least gave them a chance in the second half
anyone have a live feed? Thanks in advance
Kobe is getting banged up tonight, has taken two hard hits.
Announcers are overreacting to when Kobe is fouled
Cayucos Surfer says
What the eff, Fesenko? Leave Kobe alone!
Why would you double team Fesenko?
i like fesenko. he’s got guts.
Look no further than the FT line if we lose this game.
Damn..Bynum can’t shoot FTs
If Andrew Bynum is going to continue to channel his inner Shaq, he really, really needs to filter out and block the free-throw shooting part.
Am I the only one that likes this mean streak from Bynum lately?
Darius Soriano says
Mohan, I’d say we should look to the line if the Lakers win. LA with a 29 to 9 lead in attempts from the stripe tonight.
Gasol slam dunk!!!
Wow, that LO trey was from deep country. Yeah, this mean streak from Bynum is just wonderful indeed.
You gotta love LAMAR!!!!
@Ryan, seems like the whole team is kind of mad right now. Emotional high from yesterday, the physical play of the Jazz is really getting the Lakers Game faces on.
Yes, I understand that Pau’s game face is still a smiling face, but still…
After a sloppy first half, lakers coming alive!
Fesenko is a big boy. He’s taller and wider than Bynum.
here we go 4th qrt time to get close to that no. 1 seed
wow LO shooting threes like its a lay-up. if he plays like this no way lakers loose
Domination..Lamar for 3…Bynum smash
I like what I’ve seen from Steve Blake this game and this half in particular. Still can’t score though.
lol some arc on that free throw.
Walton to Brown, blake doing well… this looks awesome.
we were down by 17 pts. early in the game and now we are up by 18 pts. ( and counting) what a turn around…
The Dude Abides says
Lakers on a 51-17 run from the time they were down 48-32. That will get it done on the road, especially on the 2nd night of a B2B.
4th quarter: Put the clamps on D. 1 point for Utah in the quarter so far. Gotta love the championship defense.
Spurs and C’s lost: Time for the league to freak out. If we take the 1 seed, Dallas is in the rear view mirror and we’re gonna be licking our chops for whomever comes up from the dust cloud to face us in the WCF and Finals.
This is an extremely impressive performance
by the lakers considering the situation.
Blake has really turned it up in the last month.
But I must say, the enthusiasm that Kobe
shows for his mates and his passion to win
are as important to this team as his
out of this world ability.
I don’t want to get too far ahead but if the lakers
And Kobe get there/his sixth ring, then
for my money he’s the number one laker
of all time. And if he should add number
18 and or 19 for the franchise before
he’s thru, then he’s in the conversation
with Jordan. And I never thought I would
see anyone as fierce as mike.
how is stockton not on floor seats?????
I think Lakers want to be in the playoffs already haha
ray, I was wondering exactly the same thing… And the other commentator did not even realize who Mark Jackson was referring to when they were showing Stockton.
It is not right that the second greatest (arguably) of the franchise does not get to sit courtside during games
The Dude Abides says
LOL…Lakers getting all the calls 😀
wow – happy to be so wrong about this game!
Lakers come back, Dodgers come back. Today’s daily double. Kudos to both.
It’s only fitting that on the night Dennis Rodman gets his jersey retired and is told he has been enducted into the basketball HOF that Ron Artest plays a game like he did tonight. The guy just abused Paul Milsap all night. Paul is going to have nightmares of Ron all morning. Forget about the good offensive game he played. The guy dominated the game without getting any steals or a bunch of rebounds. Only a few players to ever play the game can do what Artest did.
A focused, methodical, black mamba type win tonight. They let their prey run, laugh and have fun. Then when the prey got tired, the Lakers chocked the life out of them. They won’t be tested until they play OKC.
Rodman HOF, sounds like a April Fools Joke. It might be.
Lakers at this point are finally in control of their own destiny. If they win out they get the number 1 seed in the West. If the Bulls lose just one game with the easy schedule they have, we get number 1 seed throughout the league. Bring on Denver
Spurs fans in a total panic over at the 48 minutes of hell blog. Some saying they’ll slip to the 3rd seed, some saying they’ll fall to Memphis or Portland in the first round. But alot of hate towards Pop and Bonner. Haha, quite amusing.
Good thing we never panic around here. 😉
How about blatant fouls by Dirk and Fesenko on Kobe on back to back nights?They should be fined or whatever.
Kobe is definitely in the MVP discussion right now.
Darius Soriano says
The game recap is up.